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Budding barrister or seasoned virtuoso? Either way, presentation is paramount. But what makes a great headshot? 

From poses to cropping, there are tons of ways to mess up your headshot. You might think a power pose will do the trick, but that vibe could be a major turn-off to your target clients. The fancy camera on your smartphone? Not good enough for headshots.

It’s all about trustworthiness—and that means accuracy, approachability, and quality. That’s a lot to ask from a simple photo, but we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’ll explain the dos and don’ts of headshots for lawyers.

DO: Get a professional to take your photo

This is the first impression a client will get of you, so it needs to be top-notch. A professional headshot communicates credibility, expertise and attention to detail. It sets you apart as a serious professional in your field. 

In some studies, high-quality photos dramatically improved the perception of a person’s competence and influence by over 60%.

Without a professional headshot, you risk appearing amateurish or untrustworthy. Potential clients may question your professionalism and competence, potentially turning to competitors who present a more polished image. 

If professional photography isn’t feasible, try a platform like Headshot Pro to ensure consistency across all the images of you and your team.

DO: Choose the right vibe to convey

Your headshot should convey the essence of your brand and the values you represent.

Many attorneys pose with crossed arms and a stern expression—but then they talk about how compassionate they are when it comes to their clients, hoping to convey warmth. 

The Cognition and Emotional Journal found that it only takes 100 milliseconds for someone to decide if they trust you based on your face.

Use your pose, expression, color scheme and styling to showcase your personality and establish a connection with potential clients. Understand your target audience and tailor your image to resonate with them (while remaining authentic, of course). Convey approachability and relatability with a warm and friendly expression. 

See how you feel about black and white vs. color headshots. Color photos usually feel more vibrant and contemporary, whereas black and white can feel more classic and timeless. 

DO: Look like yourself 

Your headshot should resemble you as you actually are. They should be able to recognize you in public or at your office when meeting you for the first time, purely based on your headshot.

Overly stylizing or overly editing? Don’t do it! We get it, we all have hang-ups about aging and body shape. But bad hair days aside, editing can be confusing and off-putting. 

Clients appreciate transparency and honesty, so avoid excessive editing that alters your appearance. Wear clothes like you wear to work.

DON’T: Use blurry or pixelated images

Blurry or pixelated headshots scream “I didn’t bother to check my own website.” 

They make you look unprofessional, like you don’t care about details. In a world where many are judging you by your online presence, put your best foot forward. Invest in clear, sharp images that say, “I mean business.” Double check after you hit publish!

DON’T: Use the same photo for years on end

You’re not a vampire who doesn’t age (unless you are, in which case, kudos). 

Using the same outdated headshot forever makes you look stuck in a time warp—or like you’re avoiding reality by pretending to be younger and cooler. And nothing makes you look older and less cool than trying to look young and look cool. Clients want to know they’re hiring someone who’s current and evolving. 

So, ditch the old pic. A current headshot projects confidence, professionalism and a commitment to staying relevant in your field.

DON’T: Crop it weirdly 

Cropping matters more than you think. Zoomed-in photos can look very intense—or they can chop off your head, or the head of someone standing next to you.

Bad cropping can make a good photo look like a Facebook profile photo from 2009. Hands off that crop! 

If you want to avoid looking awkward and unprofessional, don’t crop your own photos. Trust your website designer or photographer to handle all cropping so your photo actually flatters you. 

DON’T: Avoid having a headshot entirely 

By omitting a photo, you’re denying potential clients the chance to put a face to your name. 

People are more likely to reach out when they’ve seen your face already. It’s like seeing photos of the food at a restaurant before you go. So don’t shy away from showcasing yourself and embrace this must-have content

Your headshot humanizes you and adds a personal touch to your online presence. Lawyers are humans, too, after all.

Review and next steps

Your headshots say a lot about you and your firm’s commitment to excellence. Take them seriously! Treat your photos and your website like valuable assets that can either gain clients or repel them.

The designers and growth marketers at Omnizant can help you craft an appealing, approachable online presence. We’ll make sure you look great, even if we can’t make you look 10 years younger. 

Start with a consultation to see if a OneFirst site could work for your law firm.

About the Author
The team at OneFirst Legal has built websites for thousands of law firms across the United States. Fueled by data and whole lot of creativity, OneFirst helps law firms make a powerful first impression online with websites that convert visitors into clients.